Unless your business happens to be the only player in your industry, you’ll definitely need something that sets you apart from others. This is where your unique selling proposition (USP) comes in. It can also be referred to as your unique value proposition or unique selling point.
This article will show you:
- What a Unique Selling Proposition means
- Why you need it for your business
- How to create or define your company’s USP
- Some examples of companies with strong Unique Value Propositions
What is a unique selling proposition?
A unique selling proposition is a quality that sets your business apart from your competitors and other businesses in your field. It could be what your company stands for, how you conduct your business, the audience you cater to, or the goods or services that your business provides.
Why you need a unique selling proposition for your business
A strong unique value proposition becomes the thing your business is known for. It can help you attract and retain customers. Your business needs a USP for:
- Differentiation: A clearly articulated unique selling point can be a useful tool that helps you shape and focus your marketing goals to successfully set your brand apart from your competition. A unique value proposition is essential to your brand, because it communicates to your customers that your business has unique features that they likely cannot find anywhere else. Being clear about your USP helps potential clients to differentiate you from the many options available to them.
- Effective marketing: Part of an effective marketing strategy is to clearly communicate your USP in all your marketing efforts- ads, social media posts, emails, website etc. If not, your marketing efforts may not yield satisfactory results. You should always be able to highlight a specific benefit you offer that your competitors don’t.
- Memorability: Your USP plays a crucial role in defining your brand identity. It keeps the differentiating features of your business at the forefront of your target customers’ minds. It helps your business to be memorable and maintain a positive impression.
- Focus: Having a unique selling point can serve an essential role in your company’s internal operations. It helps you to stay focused on the specific reason why your company exists. If not, you may end up doing too many different things without any identifiable positive result.
How to create or discover your unique selling point
As a business owner, you always have to consider who your business is for, what drives you to offer your services, and how you want to make a unique impact. Take these steps to identify your USP:
1. Define all the features that make your products or services unique
Grab a pen and a jotter. Write down anything and everything you can think of that makes your product unique. Don’t overthink it. Write down everything that comes to your mind. It could be something you think is insignificant, such as how your product is made or sourced, it might surprise you that it may be what will differentiate you from your competitors.
2. Define your target audience
Before you even start marketing your services, you need to know who you are targeting. In this step, you want to be as specific as possible. For example, if you sell fresh flowers, your target client could be a wedding vendor, or a restaurant owner who loves to decorate her shop with fresh flowers daily.
3. Put yourself in the shoes of your ideal customer
To define your unique value proposition, you can look at it from the perspective of your customers. Ask yourself the following questions:
- What is your customer looking for? What are they struggling with?
- How does your product or service fulfill that need? How does it solve their problem?
- How is your service/product better than your competition?
- Why would your customer choose your product/service over the competition?
4. Study your competitors:
Take a step back and look at what your competitors are doing. Ask yourself these questions:
- What are they doing well? How can you replicate it in your own unique way?
- What are they doing average at? How can you improve on it?
- What are they doing poorly? How can you avoid those pitfalls?
- What are they not doing at all? How can you fill that gap?
5. Show your customer how you’ll solve their problem
You need to build relationships with your customers. Be patient and consistent with them. Get them to know you, like you, and trust you. This is called the know-like-trust factor (KLT). Create content that shows that you understand their problem, and that you have the solution. When your customer is finally ready to make a purchase, your business will be the first (and maybe the only) option they will consider. A customer that feels connected to your business will buy from you again and again.
6. Be recognizable
Find a way to condense your uniqueness into an instantly recognizable set of features, i.e., your brand identity. This could include your brand name, logo, slogan, brand colors, etc. Make sure it’s short, concise, easy to understand and recognize. Your brand identity will stamp your business in your audience’s minds as they come to associate your colors, fonts, etc with your business.
Examples of companies with strong unique value propositions
We will be going through some examples of companies with strong value propositions. With these examples, we would also discuss a bit on what makes them so compelling:
Stripe makes it clear that its web and mobile payment products are made for developers and tech-savvy businesses. Its tools are comprehensive, trustworthy for companies that demand nothing less.
Vimeo brands itself as a higher-quality, more sophisticated YouTube, and its value proposition makes this clear. When you choose Vimeo over YouTube, you’re making a commitment to post things that are “worth watching.”
Apple is known for its commitment to sleek, elegant product designs. This aspirational messaging is Apple’s value proposition. The company focuses on the experience of using an Apple product. Most companies can’t pull off using words such as “magical” to describe using a smartphone, but Apple can.
Simplicity is the core theme at the heart of Slack’s value proposition. After all, it’s hard to get more done if the app that promises to help you frustrates you. The premise of “find anything, anywhere, anytime, from any device” is another selling point Slack users routinely talk about.
Skillshare offers online classes and lessons for entrepreneurs and creative minds. The primary benefit of Skillshare is the ability to learn through small-sized lessons. The unique selling point here is the focus on quick and on-demand learning.
Spotify is an online streaming music platform that targets families and single people alike. The benefit of this platform is the ability for people to listen to music on the go. Their unique selling point is that there’s music to suit everyone’s tastes, all in one app.
Go ahead and use this guide to craft your value proposition, so you can set your business apart from the crowd!